Breast Cancer Treatments & Technologies
We believe the best way to fight cancer is to do so with comprehensive, personalized treatment. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center, our doctors and practitioners work with you to develop a breast cancer treatment plan tailored to your unique needs and diagnosis. Your doctors will consider a number of factors before making their treatment recommendations. These factors include the type of breast cancer you have, your genetic profile, the stage of the cancer, and if you have recurrent or metastasized disease. Your integrated, individualized treatment plan may include surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and radiation treatment delivered with scientifically supported complementary therapies to help you to experience a better quality of life throughout your treatment.
Breast Cancer Surgery
Your world-class surgical team at CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center will remove breast tumors that many surgeons at other hospitals will not consider operating on due to the size or advancement of the tumor. Your CTCA surgeons and surgical oncologists have the expertise and capabilities to surgically manage extremely advanced tumors which have impacted your breast(s) and chest wall. They also have extensive experience in treating inflammatory breast cancer.
Pathology in the surgical suite
Your team of breast cancer experts includes a pathologist. He or she is present during breast cancer surgery to evaluate tissue samples as they are removed from your body. The pathologist analyzes the tissue and provides pathology results to the surgeon immediately within the operating room. This helps us to ensure that we do everything now to remove the cancer so that we can reduce the likelihood that you’ll have to undergo multiple surgeries to eliminate the disease.
Another key player on your team is your oncoplastic and reconstructive surgeon. He combines a series of techniques to remove tumors using both general and plastic surgery principles. He meticulously removes the cancer and carefully reshapes the remaining breast tissue, minimizing scarring and maintaining as much of the breast tissue as possible. Very often, he is even able to salvage nipple tissue.
Traditional breast procedures
Listed below are the traditional surgical procedures for breast cancer performed by your highly skilled surgical team at CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center:
Your surgical team at CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center specializes in skin-sparing mastectomies, which help to preserve your breast tissue. Breast lift incisions are done so that the skin that is left is positioned to enable your surgeon to reconstruct your breast.
It is important to approach reconstruction at the right time during your treatment. If you undergo reconstructive procedures too soon and then need radiation therapy, the reconstruction can be damaged. CTCA focuses on treating the cancer adequately, aggressively and in a timely manner, and then shifting focus to reconstruction, if you choose to have such procedures performed.
Breast Cancer Chemotherapy
Your doctors at CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center may recommend chemotherapy as a breast cancer treatment. Chemotherapy drugs work to stop cancer cell growth, either by halting cell division or by killing the cells.
- Systemic chemotherapy can be taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle. It ends up in the bloodstream, regardless of the method ingested, and is designed to reach cancer cells throughout the entire body, not just in the breast. Systemic chemotherapy is normally used to treat patients with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer.
- Regional chemotherapy is delivered directly into the spinal column, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen. It’s a way of targeting cancer cells in specific areas.
- Some patients may have a central port placement to help preserve vein tissue from chemotherapy-related side effects.
Metronomic chemotherapy, or fractionated-dose chemotherapy, is an option we have offered for several years at CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center. It differs from conventional chemotherapy in that the total dose of your chemotherapy is broken into smaller amounts and administered over a period of three to five days, rather than a single larger dose.
Breast Cancer Hormone Therapy
Another breast cancer treatment option you may have at CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center is hormone therapy. Like chemotherapy, hormone therapy is a systemic treatment. It can affect cancer cells throughout your body.
This type of treatment is used to keep cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow. Hormones are chemicals produced by glands in your body, and are circulated in your bloodstream. Estrogen and progesterone are hormones that affect the way some cancers grow. If tests show that your cancer cells have estrogen, progesterone and/or testosterone receptors (molecules found in some cancer cells to which estrogen and progesterone will attach), hormone therapy is used to block the way these hormones help the cancer grow. This treatment may include the use of drugs that change the way hormones work, or surgery to remove the ovaries that make female hormones.
Breast Cancer Radiation Therapy
Your CTCA breast cancer team may also include a radiation oncologist, who would determine if any of the following treatments may be appropriate for you.
Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)
Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) is an innovative radiation therapy that allows you to receive a single, powerful dose of radiation directly to the tumor site during breast cancer surgery. This technique helps to reduce treatment times and minimize side effects. IORT offers the following advantages:
- Maximum effect, while minimizing recurrence. IORT delivers a concentrated dose of radiation to a tumor site immediately after a tumor is removed, helping to destroy the microscopic tumor cells that may be left behind.
- Spares healthy tissues and organs. IORT delivers a precise radiation dose to the tumor bed while sparing normal surrounding breast tissues, minimizing the need for breast prosthesis.
- Shortened treatment times. IORT delivers the equivalent of several weeks of standard radiation therapy in a single dose and treatment session, minimizing the time spent going back and forth to the hospital for additional radiation treatments.
- A "boost" for traditional radiation patients. Patients who must receive additional radiation therapy following surgery can receive a boost of radiation during IORT.
High-Dose Rate Brachytherapy
High-Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy is an innovative form of internal radiotherapy. With this treatment, we are able to implant the radiation within the tumor site. This technique ensures the maximum radiation dose is given where you need it most, while allowing little radiation to reach the healthy surrounding tissue. In many cases, brachytherapy is an effective alternative to surgical removal of a breast cancer tumor or breast.
MammoSite® Radiation Therapy is a simpler, less invasive method of delivering breast brachytherapy. The radiation treatment can be completed in four to five days compared to seven weeks for traditional external beam radiation therapy. With MammoSite®, radiation is delivered directly to the area where a breast tumor has been surgically removed in a lumpectomy procedure. This is the site where tumors are most likely to recur. With its site-specific approach, MammoSite® avoids external beam therapy side effects, such as the irradiation of healthy tissue.
TomoTherapy® Highly Integrated Adaptive Radiotherapy is a sophisticated radiation therapy your radiation oncologist at CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center may recommend. An advanced form of Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, TomoTherapy®:
- Combines CT scanning technology with advanced tools for planning and delivering radiation therapy
- Sculpts small, powerful and precise radiation beams to strike hard-to-reach tumors
- Reduces radiation exposure to healthy surrounding tissue, often dramatically
Learn more about all of our treatment options for breast cancer at CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center. Call 1-800-615-3055 now to speak with a knowledgeable and friendly Oncology Information Specialist. You can also chat online with us.